Instructions for Dancing

Wednesday January 28, 2009

stay with you in your steps

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 10:00 pm

I like how predictable evenings are. I like the thought that right now I can picture everyone I love and where they’ll be, what you’ll be doing. You’re at home with family, where you should be right now, you’re stewarding and will soon be home with me, you’re across town trying to make up your wordcount before midnight, as per instructions, you’re in Ashby being sad, geeky and happy with your awesome girlfriend, you’re sitting at your computer with the TV on in the background, making sarcastic comments to yourself and laughing at secret jokes.

Well, I can do that for most. You’re the odd one out; you’re somewhere across the world, doing something; but whatever it is I think you are doing it with short hair and gentleness and a very real humor / you’d be proud of.

Tuesday January 27, 2009

the most genuine thing

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 12:06 am

I had a little moment tonight, during Iolanthe rehearsal this evening. We were in the old library at Emma(nuel), this lovely high-ceilinged, wood-panneled room with huge portraits of famous, influential people, and we were doing our first ‘run’ of the entire second act. This was a big deal. We were slowly stitching together a full half of all the work we’ve done for three weeks – songs, dances, dialogues, the lot. And I was suddenly so glad to be there, surrounded by those talented, dynamic people whose names I feel privileged to know, privileged to have given them mine. It’s not about the performances anymore, what other people will see and think when they watch us on stage, it’s about all the moments we’re sitting barefoot in historic places, exhausted and sweaty and accomplished, watching our hard work play out and living up to the inspiration of that history.

I receieved another kind of inspiration tonight. I realised that I’ve been living this course and this subject pretty nicely, doing all my work and developing good scholarly comments, but I haven’t yet given myself permission to say what I really think. Hi, I can actually be honest here; I can hear what they say and read what they write and take it inside me or spit it out again. I can choose. I can still be me in all of this, I can take my joy where it’s offered. This is maybe a strange realisation to get halfway through reading something Emily wrote about gladiators, but I never said I was above using friends as shining examples. I’d like to be a little more barefoot and historic.

Anyway. I realised tonight that right now I have even less than ever to be unhappy about, which is perhaps a pessimistic way of defining happiness, but it works for me. Now I’m going to translate some, read some and invite Matt over for tea and cake.

Saturday January 24, 2009

bird’s wing on the window

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 2:03 pm


There are people who will tell you
that using the word fuck in a poem
indicates a serious lapse
of taste, or imagination,

or both. It’s vulgar,
indecorous, an obscenity
that crashes down like an anvil
falling through a skylight

to land on a restaurant table,
on the white linen, the cut-glass vase of lilacs.
But if you were sitting
over coffee when the metal

hit your saucer like a missile,
wouldn’t that be the first thing
you’d say? Wouldn’t you leap back
shouting, or at least thinking it,

over and over, bell-note riotously clanging
in the church of your brain
while the solicitous waiter
led you away, wouldn’t you prop

your shaking elbows on the bar
and order your first drink in months,
telling yourself you were lucky
to be alive? And if you wouldn’t

say anything but Mercy or Oh my
or Land sakes, well then
I don’t want to know you anyway
and I don’t give a fuck what you think

of my poem. The world is divided
into those whose opinions matter
and those who will never have
a clue, and if you knew

which one you were I could talk
to you, and tell you that sometimes
there’s only one word that means
what you need it to mean, the way

there’s only one person
when you first fall in love,
or one infant’s cry that calls forth
the burning milk, one name

that you pray to when prayer
is what’s left to you. I’m saying
in the beginning was the word
and it was good, it meant one human

entering another and it’s still
what I love, the word made
flesh. Fuck me, I say to the one
whose lovely body I want close,

and as we fuck I know it’s holy,
a psalm, a hymn, a hammer
ringing down on an anvil,
forging a whole new world.

-Kim Addonizio

I sortof love that poem. Anyway, I have been flyering around Cambridge for two hours and can’t type that well as my hands are chilly, so I’ll go squat by a radiator or something. Iolanthe starts again at 2:30.

My first essay turned out really well, I think. I didn’t have to rush it in the end, but I did finish with only a few hours to spare, which is a bit close for my liking. No harm done though, I think. I’ll try to confirm that opinion later once I’ve deciphered my supervisor’s writing.

Tuesday January 20, 2009

get your epitaph right

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 5:30 pm

Days are passing by. And these are days I’ll want to remember, so. Here I am.

I am way busy at the moment. All in good ways, as I am saying quite often to make myself feel better about exhausted evenings, but it’s making everything move pretty fast and sometimes I feel like I might slip up. I’ve an Iolanthe rehearsal every evening this week, ahah, which I don’t really mind about, but it means I’m missing a good friend’s birthday party this evening, which I’m sad about, and it means that my downtime has to be used for working. That means less time for spontaneity, for reading, for Matt.

But on the other hand, the busier I get, the more organised I have to be, and it’s a wonderful exercise. I’m really proud of the fact that I’m still getting all my work in on time, done well, that I’m never late to rehearsals and never start complaining halfway through, that I’m going to all my lectures, that I sang my first solo on Sunday since the disastrous Milton concert and made it fucking good this time. Yesterday DB returned a piece of work with EXCELLENT underlined on it. This is all mine, and it’s all challenging, but I’ve never felt more alive.

We’ll see how I feel after writing this essay. It’s due in on Thursday, and I haven’t started it yet, which is unusual for me and a little unsettling, but it just means that I’ll get to write it in a shorter period of time, and that will probably be a good exercise. I’ve done almost all the background reading I can find on the topic, so now I have to sort out my own thoughts and write something profound. Last term I wrote this supervisor something that she told me was brilliant but not relevant, so this term I’d like to prove to her that I can manage both.

So yeah. Tonight I’ve got Iolanthe, but not for a few hours yet, so I’m going to translate some Achilles Tatius, cook myself dinner and make a start on this essay. Sleeve-rolling ahoy.

Friday January 16, 2009

take the fight from the kid

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 6:45 pm

So, I did have a good birthday in the end. Really good, in fact.

Since then, things have been getting increasingly busy, and by midnight yesterday I’d turned into a bit of a zombie, forgetting things like basic vocabulary (though I still knew the words for ‘Achilles Tatius’ and rehearsal’) and not being able to button up my pajama top correctly. I didn’t even pack my bag for the following day before falling into bed, which I’ve only just realised is one of a large number of anally organised habits I’ve developed. (lols, sounds wrong.)

ANYWAY. I am at least overly-busy with Really Good Stuff: Emily’s now in choir, which makes me really happy, Iolanthe rehearsals are draining but filled with good humour and nice people, lectures are (so far) genuinely interesting and thought-provoking and I’m staying on top of my work. Hurrah! The fact that this feels like an achievement after two days of term is maybe a Bad Sign, but whatever. I’m doing well.

I’m also in a stupidly good mood today, the reasons for which I wanted to record for later [prefix]spection. I’m feeling a bit different today, a bit stronger and a bit newer and a bit more sure of where I’m going.

Oh and, tonight lots of us are going to see Hamlet at the ADC. It should be good! I have never seen, studied or read Hamlet, something I find really embarrassing and am really glad I can now rectify. This version’s had some good reviews and is now sold out, so it should be a good show. Before that, we’re cooking. At mine. Because, yknow, I’ve got a room with floorspace now. WIN.

Monday January 12, 2009

here’s to the nights

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 6:21 pm


I’m having a good day. I’ve found my feet again. Iolanthe rehearsals are going well and hey, I’m kindof enjoying them. Viennese Waltzing practice continues to be hilarious. Matt’s back and I’m happy about it, and I’m happy that I’m happy about it. I am filled full of hope again, and I’m excited for this term.

And now I’m twenty. This is the first time I’ve ever been aware of the fact that I’m aging, that I’m not immortal. Yes, thanks, I did know that before, but now there’s a whole period of my life that’s closed off to me forever, chronologically-speaking at least, and that I’ll never return to it. It happened with my childhood too, but my teenage years were when I found me, and when I discovered what I could do and what I wanted to. The fact that it’s over isn’t a bad thing at all, it’s absolutely fine, but it’s not a feeling I’ve ever felt before. I’ll not be a teenager again.

So this evening I’m going to have all my friends round and we’re going to eat, drink and be merry. That’s the plan, anyway, and we know what happens to those. Things have changed for me, and that’s okay, I feel the same, I’m on my way, and I say: Things have changed for me, and that’s okay…

Wednesday January 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 2:51 pm

Found at break-neck speed in the act 1 finale:

I wouldn’t say a word that could be reckoned as injurious,
But to find a mother younger than her son is very curious,
And that’s the kind of mother that is usually spurious,
Tarra-diddle tarra-diddle tol lol lay.

Best ever.

Tuesday January 6, 2009

a sound for no-one

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 9:06 pm

Now this is really silly. Rehearsal finished early this evening, so instead of going out with the others I thought I’d come back here, take a shower, do some work. But now I’ve been back for over an hour and I can’t bring myself to move from my desk chair and this blanket, which is offering the most warmth I could get in here. Holding a book or taking a shower doesn’t bear thinking about. I’m going to leave my hairdryer on for ten minutes and then see if I can face washing my hair in the sink.

The girls’ chorus rehearsals went well today! Especially the music one, because yknow, we are good at singing. But then this evening we had improv games and characterisation practice, the thought of which wigs me out on principle. Then again, the reality of which could have been worse. We’ve sorted out some ‘routine’ improv, anyway, so there’s not that panic of your mind going blank at inconvenient moments.

Also, I’ve realised something: this is what I asked for. I said, wow, I kindof want to do some things that challenge and scare me, and now, this is what I’ve got, and it’s not completely beaten me. I’m also managing that ‘do one thing that scares you every day’, which I’ve always approved of but have never had the opportunities, because actually I’m a big cowardly avoider. Today I did five, at least, and I’m still here, and I’m lonely and cold but I did this. I’m doing it. And now I’m going to let go for a little while, and then perhaps I’ll call my boyfriend and tell him I love him.

edit: Oh AND, I also learnt this game where you crawl around on the floor pretending to be amoebas and evolution is decided by rock paper scissors. The five levels of evolutionary development are amoebas, snakes, bunnies (bunnies),  birds and elephants. I might make people play it at my birthday party.

edit #2: Also, we need to learn how to Viennese waltz by February. It looks easy until you watch their feet.

Monday January 5, 2009

there is a secret that we keep

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 11:00 pm

Hi. I’m back in Cambridge.

I’m feeling a little fragile right now, but I have to remind myself that that’s how I feel at the beginning of each term, uprooted from nice warm family home and replanted elsewhere, in a room chillier and rather more alone. And this time I’m alone for a bit longer than normal, doing nothing but rehearsing Iolanthe for the next few days. But it’s okay. We had a meet and a sing-through this evening, where the meet parts were difficult (lol social disability) and the sing-through parts were really good. (Seriously, this is going to be an amazing show.) tomorrow we have an all-day rehearsal, doing singing and choreography for the very first scene, so maybe I’ll feel more settled then.

I’ve also moved into a larger room, which is actually amazing and is going to make such a different to the rest of this year. It’s just larger than my room of last year, I’d say, and has a much nicer layout, too: it’s almost two adjoining rooms, just connected by an archway in the middle, giving a bit of separation between work and sleep areas. It also has more storage than I know what to do with – two wardrobes, three bookshelves and a chest of drawers… The final awesome thing is that now I have floorspace, which means I could actually fit friends in here if I wanted. I still need to decorate it and make it look properly mine, but for now it is so perfect and I’m so happy. (It’s also really cold up here, gah, but right even broken radiators can marr this room’s absolute perfection.)

Anyway. I should have done some work today, but I’m exhausted and might just go to bed. Or, er, toast some crumpets, read fic and find a hot water bottle? Similar.

At some point I am going to summon some hope and optimism about Iolanthe and my related social insecurities and the other things weighing on my mind, but I’m not quite there yet. But I’m not so far either. It’s within me to deal with this. soon I’ll believe that for sure and I’ll be okay.

Saturday January 3, 2009

let’s talk about romance

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 10:00 pm

I remember reading the words ‘First he was too close, then he was too far away again’ sometime, somewhere, and they always stuck with me. Tonight I feel that way.

I’ve had a lovely few days with Matt. But I took him back to the station today, and on Monday Dad’s taking me back to Cambridge. I’ll be sad to leave here, now, because I’ve really enjoyed having my family around, and Monday will be beginning a very lonely week spent doing something I’m feeling scared about. It’ll be okay, though; deep down I always fear the worst, and I’m nearly always proved wrong.

It’s been strange, though, these last few days. At the start of Christmas break, I was surprising myself by how well I adjusted to the loneliness-solitude of home life, having so much free space and time – even if I did have to fill it with translations. I’d got used to having that space. And then… I guess this has taught me that I shouldn’t make so many assumptions. I don’t know. I didn’t realise, when I made my plans, that I’d end up taking my work so seriously this holiday, that I’d grow possessive of my time and my home. Priorities change, don’t they, and that’s okay, but nobody can escape those little moments of doubt. Even if they thought they could.

And yet, now that I’m home alone again, it feels a little too quiet here. There’s a little too much space. But even that’s conforting, in a way. It would be a shame to have that fear rise up and be confirmed now, after how far we’ve come.

UM, anyway. This all sounds rather depressed, but it isn’t really, I’ve just had some cause for thought this week. And – I think that’s okay. I’ll let you know.

Create a free website or blog at